Following our South Yorkshire derby victory over Sheffield Wednesday, Valérien Ismaël says it was an important result for everyone associated with the club – particularly our supporters.
Barnsley came from behind to claim local bragging rights at Hillsborough and earn their first win over the Owls in 11 years to climb to 13th in the Sky Bet Championship.
“It’s a very good feeling,” insisted Ismaël. “Congratulations to the guys for the result, for the performance, for the mentality to come back in the game and how we scored. I’m very proud of the guys.
“It was not an easy game but, in the end, we got the points. First, it’s a very good feeling to move on the ranking and, second, it’s a big win for the players and, for our fans, it’s an earlier Christmas present.”
This was the Reds’ fourth fixture of a gruelling December schedule and they have shown their grit and determination to continue grinding out impressive victories.
Tiredness inevitably crept in towards full-time, but it was another stoic effort from a group of players that, after 18 games last season, were rock bottom with just nine points on the board.
“I felt the fatigue, for our guys it was really difficult to keep pressing high, to stay compact to try to press and we took the fight, we defended very well and Jack Walton made a big save,” continued Ismaël.
“This is what you need; togetherness, mentality and to show willingness to win the game. I think now we are more ready and have more confidence for the Championship and it’s given us, for sure, momentum.”
Barnsley are now sitting 12 points above the dreaded trap door – and a further four clear of Wednesday, who are rooted to the foot of the table.
However, glance upwards, and just six points separate the Reds from those elusive play-off spots. But Ismaël is adamant that he and his team are not thinking that far ahead, instead concentrating on taking each game as it comes.
“One by one,” asserted our Head Coach. “I think it’s very important to know where we came last season; all the tough work Barnsley did and that’s why we have to stay focused, one by one.
“Our purpose is to be safe as quick as possible and that’s why we have momentum on our side now. We have to keep up the good work to stay that way and get the points as quick as possible.”
You can watch Valérien’s post-match interview on iFollow Barnsley.